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‘Oslo-itis’

As the Jewish Press went to press on Tuesday night, there were numerous news reports both from Israeli and Arab sources that a cease-fire in attacks on Israel would be announced by
Hamas and the other terrorist groups within the next several days. Also as of Tuesday, all indications are that once that announcement is made, there will be a full court press by the Bush Administration to jump start the “road map” process. It is becoming painfully clear that terror is once again to be rewarded and a repeat of the Oslo tragedy is in the making. And it is not only because Hamas has consistently maintained that it will hold its fire only in so far as it
agrees with what the negotiations bring. Or that Hamas is only thinking about a truce because the IDF is slowly but surely eliminating its leadership. Or that there apparently will be concessions by Israel to bring about the cease-fire.

In his dramatic speech a year ago Tuesday, President Bush declared that Arafat had to go and the terrorist infrastructure had to be dismantled. And there were similar provisions in the “road
map” document. Yet Arafat is not only plainly still in charge, but Abu Abbas has declared he will never move militarily against the terrorist groups. He has also offered to bring them all into his government in a coalition to be headed by Yasir Arafat! We are certain that Secretary of State Powell’s reassuring statement last week that any cessation of fighting would only be a first step that had to be followed by a disarming of Hamas and the other terror groups will soon be lost in the shuffle.

What seems to be happening is that, as in Oslo, process is being elevated over substance. Once again Palestinian non-compliance is being ignored in the hope that a peace process will
assume a life of its own and somehow things will fall into place. And hope once again is displacing logic.

If Oslo taught us anything is that you cannot defer the painful decisions. Hamas must go, now. And so must Arafat. 

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